Sunday, 13 September 2015

Emotional Confusion

Sometimes we find ourselves a little tightly wound and shock ourselves when we lose patience with such out of character irritability.That's been me recently. I've had to have a tighter hold on my anger reigns than usual and it's been emotionally draining. What's been even more emotionally draining though, is the cause for my foul mood.

All my life I have learnt to handle my negative emotions in what some people would say was an unhealthy way. But it's always worked for me and well it's gotten me this far just fine, hasn't it? Usually I lock them away and if I deal with them I do it when I feel ready to confront them and in small doses. Then I lock them back away for the next time I feel ready. I did that last year at around this same time really well. But this year it's proving to be a real struggle.

People say that dealing with the death of someone you love gets easier with time, that the pain goes away. Others say, and I think this is the truth, that it doesn't go away, you just learn to live with it. Because two years on and the pain is still there, and it's still hard to deal with. In about a week two years ago is when my dad was admitted to the hospital never to go back home. And as this time has been approaching the grip sorrow has had on my heart has been tightening by the day. In its cruel torture it has been flooding my mind with memories of him. Where usually my memories of him are such a bitter sweet experience, these past few weeks they have been plain torture. They have been resurrecting the feelings that I was exposed to when the end was in sight.

My family and I were one of the lucky ones that got to say good bye. That got the chance to make everything right with each other and apologise and forgive. I count myself lucky for that chance, unlike so many others that have someone uprooted from their lives without warning. But that period and experience brought with it such emotional confusion. He went way too fast for us but at the same time he went so agonisingly slowly. The end could and was going to come at any moment and that was so excruciating. Having your heartbeat sore every time your phone rang and your entire world froze as you wondered if that was the call telling you it was over. But then it wasn't. Wanting to throw your phone away so you wouldn't get the call, in a stupid attempt to keep him here longer but not wanting to miss the call. Going to his hospital room wondering if he'd still be alive when you got there, holding his limp hand wishing he'd miraculously get better but knowing that that's just stupid wishing and somewhere at the back of your mind you wish he'd just go so you can stop living in this place where everything seems to be on hold and you can't move forward or back, you're just stuck. And then you hate yourself for wishing that. What kind of person does that? You sit and watch him lay there so lifeless, watch his chest rise and fall. You talk to him - can he hear you? Most likely not, but what if he can? What should you say to him? On some days you tell him about your day. On others you talk about memories you've shared. On one day you tell him he doesn't need to keep holding on, that it's okay, he can let go, he can stop fighting, everything will be okay even though he's gone, that he'll forever be a part of you, forever he'll be missed, but he doesn't need to hold on, it's okay he can let go. Every day you tell him that you love him. Wanting to sit there with him for as long as he still breathes but needing to go on with your life that so cruelly refuses to beat to the same rhythm as your world. So you get up to leave, plant a kiss on his forehead and once again you say good bye in case tonight will be the night, but conflicted as you are inside you want him to hang on, at least one more day. 

It was a period of grief that felt somehow frozen in time, waiting for the proper time to be thawed and justifiably felt. It was a period of so much waiting, of so much guilt caused by such conflicting thoughts that many times felt so wrong. It was a period that brought with it a few moments of redemption and saw us returned to the beautiful family we once were, the family of my childhood that had vanished so long ago. It was a period that rekindled a love that had died so long ago. So it brought some happiness and hope. It was pure emotional confusion. A period that I didn't know at the time was just the warm up to the turmoil that was about wreak havoc on my world. 

Last year I was able to push a lot of those feelings away, but this year it seems that I will have to confront them. And I'm scared.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Unrecorded Punishment of Eve

Sometimes a person just wants to give vent to their frustrations. They don't want any solutions or a shoulder to cry on. They just want to give vent, especially when whatever is bothering them is something they can't do anything about. Right now I'm that person and here I go.

Warning: If you are uncomfortable with the topics of Christianity (or if you get offended lightly by any comments that do not glorify biblical text) or those concerning menstruation and the female body, do not continue reading this.

My upbringing was predominantly Christian. I won't dwell on that now, but that was just a quick explanation as to why I am very familiar with biblical text. I'll go into a small part of that text and quickly narrate one of the stories that is recorded. So Adam and Eve were created by God and they lived in a garden called Eden. They were naked but there was no shame in this and they never worked. In fact, their only responsibility was to populate the Earth. They had just one thing forbidden to them and that was eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. One day the Devil came to the Garden in the form of a serpent, intending to get Adam and Eve to break this one rule. He tempted Eve first and she ate of the fruit and convinced Adam to do the same, which he did. Suddenly there was shame in their nakedness and they covered themselves up. God talked to them and there was a quick blame game to try justify their actions, but when you break a rule, you get punished. And that's what happened. So the serpent's punishment was to crawl on its belly and eat dust for the rest of its life, and it and the woman would from then on be enemies, as would their offspring. He turned to Eve next and passed his judgement on her, but I'll leave that for last as it explains the reason for this narration. Adam's punishment was that he would have to farm to eat. And a curse was cast on the ground, making it hard, and it would start to produce weeds and thorns, and thus Adam would have to keep his nose to the grindstone for the rest of his life. From then on they became mortal creatures and were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Now let's get to Eve's punishment. Her pregnancies would become more problematic and she would experience painful births, but regardless of this, she would still desire Adam, and she would be subject to him. And these punishments would be passed on to their descendants (meaning all human beings from that point on).

Now at a certain point way more often than I would like, I am reminded of a certain part of this story. Eve's punishment. Why? Because with what happens to my body, I came up with a theory years ago. According to my theory part of Eve's punishment was not recorded in the biblical texts as we know them. And that part was menstruation. I've heard of women looking at periods as symbolic of their femininity, and others as some type of blessing, and others as something that happens and is part of their lives. Me? I look at periods as a curse. Menstruation to me was the punishment Eve received that was somehow left out of the ones recorded.

How else could I describe being overcome with sadness that grips my entire being with absolutely no source? Sadness that draws out tears from deep within and I sit there crying not knowing why I'm crying, but I cry. And even though it has been happening since my teenage years, every time it happens, I still don't make the connection until that first sighting of blood. I don't think 'oh! I'm about to have my period again', no instead I rack my brain trying to figure out why I'm so sad. How else could I describe physical exhaustion from the time I get up in the morning and the need to push myself as hard as I can to get out of bed and go to work or school or whatever is on the schedule that day? Physical pain from my head to my shoulders to my lower abdomen, stretching out to my thighs, and pain in my abdomen that starts with a constant dull ache and evolves into a feeling like there are a million tiny devils poking at my insides with their little pitchforks that are scalding hot and glowing red. How else could I describe a week of interrupted sleep? Interrupted because each night I have to wake up an average of two times a night either because a different lower abdominal pain develops (only at night when I am deep asleep for some reason) - a pain that causes me to hunch over gripping my tummy with tears dripping down my face because it feels like my womb is agonisingly slowly being ripped out of me - or because I'm drenched in sweat and I have to get out of bed to change my sheets and blanket and my clothes. How else could I describe being nagged by guilt because I lost my temper and I feel like a walking ball of rage one minute and a sobbing sad wreck of a mess the next? Because after all the above I am not as patient as I normally would be and tend to be irritable so I snap and lose my temper more often. And like all that was not enough of a punishment, there's the added bonus of irregular bowel movements that change every few hours, not finding a toilet to change sanitary items when you could really use one so every now and then you're forced to buy new underwear at the closest place you'll find them sold so you can throw away the ones that got soiled, and for the perfect finish your stomach is so.freaking.bloated!

On a more serious note, if you have menstrual problems that are not quite normal, please go see a doctor and address the issues you are having. There could be some serious underlying causes and should not be taken lightly.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Just out of my reach

Growing up, I wasn't the girl that had her wedding planned out, I didn't have this perfect picture of my perfect prince charming drawn out. But I did have my dreams of my happy ever after. My number one dream and hope was that my first love would be my last. See I'm among those that find it hard to trust, and when it comes to relationships I find it hard to let myself be taken in by that beautiful vulnerability that comes with falling deeply in love. So when I found love for the first time in a toxic relationship that hurt the both of us more than it did us any good, I refused to let go though everything inside me screamed at me to do so. He had to be the one I got married to, but that determination battled with the knowledge that that was a road that would lead to misery. Well after about four years of that relationship I finally walked away. I was broken but I knew I would heal eventually. And I did.

Allow me to digress a little here so I can explain something. I'm a person drawn to signs and symbolic that life throws at me. There's a beauty in having the Universe or God toss you "a sign" and seeing life's events just falling into place in tune to that sign, and things suddenly making sense. Anyway, while in that long and complicated break up I had a fortune cookie and for some reason (I don't actively search for those signs) I kept the strip of paper. It read, "the only medicine for a broken heart is love". Now I don't subscribe to the the-best-way-to-get-over-someone-is-to-get-under-someone-else school of thought, and after four years I did not want to get involved in another relationship. So that note didn't really feel like it applied to me, but I kept it. 

Then I found myself swept off my feet and in what seemed to be this perfect relationship, other than the fact that we would soon live on different continents.But my broken heart was healed by that love that was beyond anything I could have imagined. It was truly something beautiful. Two years later it ended. Yet another love that wasn't my last. I would have to fall in love again. But first I needed some time on my own. Six years in two serious relationships that had failed had left me drained. Plus that last break up hit harder than I thought I was capable of being hit.

And then he came along. He reminded me of another of my childhood love-story dreams. A dream where I ended up with a childhood friend. A relationship rooted in innocent childhood friendship, cultivated over the years and allowed to blossom into a partnership that was solid. But it was a relationship that couldn't be, because sometimes life just fucks with you. Sometimes it dangles a carrot in front of your nose just to get you moving but always just out of your reach. And he was just out of my reach. 

This time is different, this time I didn't even get to be with him but I felt like I lost him. This time I have to get over someone I never even had. This time it's not pain from anger and bitterness and heartbreak that needs to be overcome, but thoughts of a future together, thoughts of him throughout the day, thoughts of loving him and being loved by him. Because even though there is the chance that we will rekindle what we once had, even though there is the chance that instead of my first love being my last, my first boyfriend will be my last (which would be an interesting and completely welcome twist to that dream), there is a higher chance that he'll forever be the one who was just out of my reach.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

So now I shall write again

This blog has so far been a reflection of my life for the past few years. Unfortunately, or fortunately for me I guess, there is no sign of what that has been like thanks to the delete button. I started this up in July 2011. And after lots of writing, publishing and deleting my posts, I have absolutely nothing to show for the years this blog has been in existence. Well that's my life at the moment; absolutely nothing to show for all the effort I have put into things I've been doing. I'm generally not a negative person. I smile a lot, a whole lot, I laugh a lot and I find joy in the little things. But after dealing with a self diagnosed bout of depression* early last year after realising how bad a loved one's illness really was and soon after, losing them, and having the one person I thought would stand by me during that difficult time turn their back on me, only to come back telling me how unsupportive I was, and then having to deal with the heart break that came after he pulled the cord on our relationship, things haven't been so rosy. Then having something I fought so hard for just not work out and having to struggle to pull through it and seeing all my hard work just go up in smoke and finding myself still struggling to see it to the end was just the icing this cake of misery needed. I sound like this huge black mood, I can imagine, and I can understand that it would be hard to imagine me in any other way than an emo teenager with black rimmed eyes covered with a curtain of raven black hair and cuts both long and recently healed, and some fresh ones all up and down my arm**, but that really isn't me. I'm the stranger you'll see on the bus that will smile back at you, I'm the girl seated on the bar stool with her friends laughing at some stupid Lord of The Rings joke that she doesn't understand because she hasn't watched any of the films. I'm that lady at the shop who will sell you fabric and heartily smile as I wish you a nice day. But what you don't know, is that behind the mask of happiness and care free bliss, I'm the girl who struggled to get up that morning. That I'm the stranger on the bus that had to gather all the strength she could muster and force herself to take a shower and comb her hair. That I'm that lady in the fabric shop that couldn't find the energy to wash her dishes yet again because in the middle of the supper she tried to force herself to eat she was overcome by a bout of pain and she sat in her chair just wanting the tears to stop flowing out in bursts so strong they made her entire body quiver.

As much as I'm going to sound very cliché, in writing I always found my release (emotional ;)) and somewhere down the road I stopped writing. I tried to write about stuff, I don't know, just stuff. But nothing felt quite right. And in my attempts to write about stuff, I ran away from dealing with my pain. I have decided to quit looking for that stuff that always eluded me anyway and write about my experiences, my emotions if you please, and see where it goes from there. I'm not worried about that getting boring, not everything I wrote was oh so clearly about my emotions and I'm sure it'll be the same this time around. So now I shall write again. I'll write so I can finally heal, I'll write so I can remember and I'll write so I can one day look back at this and laugh in disbelief, in shame and in joy. So here goes nothing.

*I do not use the terms depression and the description of an emo teen in a light and/or mocking manner.